Monday, July 24, 2006
Update as of Monday July 24, 2006
Maria drew me a beautiful picture today. She draws me beautiful pictures every day. It’s funny how much more I cherish her artwork than ever before. I always loved to get pictures from her, but now I take the time to appreciate them more. Why didn’t I before? She draws such beautiful pictures of her and me doing all sorts of things together…riding on our bikes, playing in the snow, playing ball outside. She makes me feel so very loved. I make it a point to spend as much time with her as I can without it seeming strange to her. There are many times, though, when she is playing outside or somewhere in the house and I just want to go to her and watch her, be close to her, listen to her, love her. I don’t want to disturb “normalcy” for her though, so I try not to be too obvious.
Last week I did something I don’t usually do. I ventured to a website of another child who had what Maria has. Trent went to heaven on April 3rd of this year. He reminded me a lot of Maria. Not just in symptoms but in other things. He brought joy to his entire family. His Mom wrote about how she would hold him at night. He would flip his legs up over her’s and ask her questions about heaven. She would answer his questions and tell him what a wonderful place heaven is. Then he would drift off to sleep as his Mom quietly cried. This reminds me a lot of Maria and me. I could feel what was in this Mother’s heart and I cried. Since being diagnosed, especially in the beginning, Maria often asked me about heaven. Kids are really so wise. She could see herself deteriorating in the beginning and though not a word was spoken about what might be she asked the questions it pains your heart and soul to hear. Her sixth sense was still functioning just fine. What I thought particularly lovely about my Maria is she associated death and heaven with Jesus. She asked me, with such fear, if she would have to be nailed to a cross like Jesus in order to go to heaven. My heart broke and I could barely gather the strength inside to tell her with a reassuring face that “no, of course not. Jesus did that for us so we wouldn’t have to”. What I thought to myself though is how Maria really is so much like Him. She is bearing her own cross. What Ed and I would give to take that away from her. Sometimes I worry. I try not to because I know worry and anxiety are not productive. I worry that I have to try so hard to be a better person. I think this for a couple of reasons. If I could just be better maybe that would help Maria. Maybe God would reward my “good behavior” by sparing her life. If not, maybe it could shorten my time in purgatory so I would be able to get to heaven sooner to be with her if she goes first. Because I know she will go straight to heaven. I told my wonderful friend and neighbor when Maria was first diagnosed that I had to go first because she will just be too scared to go alone, and I need to be there for her.
There is so much good here. Let’s focus on the good. Let’s focus on Christ. I have seen the face of Christ more times in the past few months than ever before. I see Him in so many of you. Your kindness, your prayers, your love. It is overflowing and that is SO good and so positive about all of this. Ed and I have been given a great gift from God through all of this pain. I really feel He is so very close to us now. We are so thankful to Him for the graces He has given to us. He has blessed us tremendously. After Maria’s last MRI Ed and I talked about the fact that we have been given a great responsibility and we must respond to that. We are praying about it and following Him on the journey He is leading us on. All of you are part of this journey. We are all so very blessed. Let’s pray that His will be done.
Maria is just so beautiful. One day I walked into the kitchen and saw a picture taped to the window. It is a picture that Maria drew of herself and her Guardian Angel, Daisy. She wrote “Me and Daisy” at the top of it. Daisy, please watch over her well. I would love to share all of her pictures with all of you. Many of you have your own little artists at home. I know you know my Maria when you look into the eyes and hearts of your own children. No wonder Jesus loved the little children. They are all so beautiful. I try to stop and soak in all that beauty each day. When you do, nothing else earthly seems quite so urgent to get to as it did before. I realize the gift of time. The gift of today. I’m thankful for that. As Mother Teresa said, "Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin."
Thank you all for your continued prayers for Maria.
Ed and Megan